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SCIENCE HERO:
DEAN KAMEN
by Oleg from Toronto

Dean Kamen (http://hhs.suhsd.k12.ca.us/users/demirand/sites/
miranda/RoboticsClub/home.htm)

Dean Kamen is one of the most influential faces in the world of science and technology. Born in New York, Deanís interest in science and technology started in high school when he started building projects in his fatherís basement. One of Deanís first inventions was an electric lighting system that he later sold to a museum. However, it was his older brother, who was then a medical student, that inspired Deanís interest in medical engineering. It was during this time that Dean created his first inventions. One of Deanís first inventions to come out of the basement was an auto-syringe, which was later bought by Baxter Healthcare. In 1982 Dean founded DEKA Research and Development. In his company Dean advances technological ideas that he thinks will benefit society. Some of DEKAís greatest inventions include the Segway and the iBOT. Dean holds over 150 American patents, however, his most precious project is FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

(http://www.gtsav.gatech.edu/students/studentcenter/images/april/dean.gif)

In the past years Dean has revolutionized science and technology. He not only changed the rules and raised the expectations, but he changed the attitude people have towards science and technology. By founding FIRST Dean got kids and teens interested in science and technology. Many people think that FIRST is about robots, itís not. Itís about so much more. Itís about developing an interest in engineering and wanting to learn and discover more. At the end of an FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) there is not a single kid that thinks his only career opportunity is to play in the NBA. In the past people used to think that engineering was not as prestigious, not as cool as basketball or football. Dean changed that by showing us that itís so much more fun to design a video game than to play one. FIRST has the broadest range of students of any other robotics program. Everyone from elementary school kids in FLL (FIRST Lego League) to high school teens in FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) is excited about FIRST. Dean admits that this is his most successful project. Today Dean lives in New Hampshire, promoting engineering both through FIRST and DEKA.

Dean Kamen is my hero because he changed the way I think about science and technology. In grade 7 I liked math and science, but I never thought of it being a career choice. There came a day when I had to choose whether or not I should join the FIRST Lego League Team. Joining that team was the pivotal point when my life changed. If I hadnít joined FIRST I donít know where I would be right now. FIRST Lego League just sparked my interest in robotics. When I became part of the FTC and FRC teams my life turned upside down. I found something that I was truly passionate about. I felt a certain sense of freedom. I could create anything I wanted and I had the tools to create those inventions. Robotics is something that drives me forward every single day. I donít even look forward to my birthday the way I look forward to the beginning of a new build season. And the skills I learn extend far beyond the boundaries of the tech lab. This is something that I can use for the rest of my life. This year I have decided to pursue engineering as a future career. As I said before, I donít know where I would be right now if I hadnít been part of FIRST. Thatís why Dean Kamen is my hero!




Written by Oleg from Toronto
Last changed on: 11/9/2009

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) inspires young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills that inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities.

DEKA Research

Wired Magazine ~ "Breakout Artist" by Scott Kirsner Read an article about Dean Kamen.

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